Saturday, December 6, 2008

Federal Secretary of Education?

U.S. Department of Education

Here are some different viewpoints on who should be the next Secretary of Education gathered from Google News.

Amanda Ripley @ Time
David Brooks @ NY Times
Dan Brown @ Huffington Post
Seyward Darby @ The New Republic
Washington Post Editorial

Google Alert on New Secretary

Who do you prefer for the position?

"A distinguishing characteristic of our nation — and a great strength — is the development of our institutions within the concept of individual worth and dignity. Our schools are among the guardians of that principle. Consequently . . . and deliberately their control and support throughout our history have been — and are — a state and local responsibility. . . . Thus was established a fundamental element of the American public school system — local direction by boards of education responsible immediately to the parents of children. Diffusion of authority among tens of thousands of school districts is a safeguard against centralized control and abuse of the educational system that must be maintained. We believe that to take away the responsibility of communities and states in educating our children is to undermine not only a basic element of our freedoms but a basic right of our citizens." ~President Dwight D. Eisenhower


Mark said...

Thanks for posting these links Jim. It is hard to know what to believe at this point.

Dave said...

Eliminate the Department altogther. Give the $68.6 billion it costs to local schools, and drive the decision making closer to the product.

Jim Burke said...

It would cost me my job, but I agree with your idea, Dave.


Dave said...

Oops, sorry Jim. I don't want to put you out of business. I'm sure something local could be created just as well.

The numbers scare me. If you take $68.6 billion (their annual budget), divide by an average annual teachers salary ($75,000 - including benefits, etc.), you get the equivalent of 914,667 teachers (or technology integrators, or whatever) nationwide.

I'll be honest. I know that the above statement is not true. Many of our existing staff (like Jim) are likely funded through the Feds. But a cursory look at their budget makes it impossible to determine what the administrative/bureaucratic overhead is in delivering products, services, and instruction to our schools.

If nothing else, it also shows the tremendous influence of the Feds in our system.

Dave said...

Another comment. There are about 80 million students in the U.S. (including college)

This funding could provide one instructor per every 87 students.